Happiness & Satisfaction
TIME FOR CHANGES Episode 2: Confidence over anxiety
March 15, 2023
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March 15, 2023
No matter how balanced we are in life, we all know fear. We actually need it to survive. When fear protects us from all sorts of dangers, it is a good advisor. Often enough though the feeling of fear or anxiety gets out of hand and paralyzes us or makes us unable to act. And that’s not helpful at all.
If we have used the moment of fear to check our planned behavior for prudence and have come to the conclusion that we do not want to or cannot take any other path, fear has already done its job. Nothing more is necessary and shouldn’t be. Otherwise, anxiety takes over and starts to cause harm.
During our summer vacation, my daughter and I were traveling with a camper van in Portugal. When we returned from a surf session, we found our key safe empty and our mobile home ransacked. I wasn't worried about the things the intruder had stolen, but whether he'd taken the key and would return. Maybe even at night when we slept? Fear.
It was immediately obvious that we would not stay in that spot. Especially not overnight, although the place was amazingly beautiful. I felt the pull of fear. In a matter of seconds, I had run through various horror scenarios in my head. It was quite easy to give in to the fearful thoughts. If I had let them run free, we could have ended the holiday immediately and had returned home. Because had I allowed myself to be taken over by anxiety, I am sure this feeling would have been transferred to my daughter. And my child being scared for the rest of the vacation was not an option.
Time for changes.
So, I decided to trust and be confident. It felt like a tour de force to flip that inner switch. But the responsibility for my daughter's well-being and for my own helped me do it.
I consciously left not only the actual place of the break-in, but also my inner place of fear to switch to a place of confidence. This was a choice. My choice.
And indeed, we managed to spend the rest of our holiday lighthearted and happy again. Admittedly, with lighter luggage than we had planned on, but internally bolstered by our own mental ‘strength training’.
We do have this option. It is in our hands whether we remain in anxiety or move on to confidence with all our might. Confide in life. Confide in yourself. Confide in others. Whatever presents itself at the time.
Sometimes this is the hard part as many of us are better trained at the ‘fear program’ than the ‘trust program’. In those cases, switching to confidence means a real expenditure of energy. When you experience this, it might be helpful to encourage yourself with simple mantras. Depending on the specific fear you are momentarily stuck in, it could be sentences like: "I can do it. I will do it" or "I'm protected, I'm safe" or "I always find a way."
The good news is, the more often we move the switch from anxiety to confidence, the easier and faster our inner attitude adjusts. As with any fitness training, repetition, practice, and discipline are what’s required. No muscle gets strong and remains this way if we only train it once.
Give it a try: Next time you feel overwhelmed by anxiety, take a moment to check whether your (planned) behavior in the specific situation is really the best there is with the knowledge you have at that moment. Otherwise, take countermeasures.
And if fear still remains, consciously leave this 'place' and make an effort to move to a place of confidence. Maybe it is confidence in yourself or in the process or in something bigger. You decide.
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